February 26 News: AEP Will Close More Coal-Fired Power Plants

By 2015, American Electric Power will stop burning coal at three power plants, thanks to a settlement agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency, several states and a handful of environmental and civil groups. [The Hill]

The Sierra Club said Monday that 2,011 megawatts of coal-generated electricity will come offline at facilities in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio….

AEP agreed to install 200 megawatts of wind and solar energy by 2015 in Michigan and Indiana to partially offset the loss of coal-fired power. It also will add pollution-control technology to a power plant in southern Indiana — though AEP would need to shut parts of the plant down beginning in 2025 if it cannot sufficiently lower sulfur dioxide emissions.

The settlement modifies a 2007 agreement between AEP, EPA and the other parties. EPA originally sued the utility in 1999 for allegedly violating the Clean Air Act, saying AEP failed to obtain permits and skirted reviews that could have pushed it to install technology that reduced air pollution when it upgraded several power plants.

The Washington Post‘s Eugene Robinson says, “The test of President Obama’s seriousness about addressing climate change is not his pending decision on the much-debated Keystone XL pipeline. It’s whether he effectively consigns coal-fired power plants — one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions — to the ashcan of history.” [WaPo]

U.S. federal prosecutors have been asked to take legal action over safety and environmental violations discovered on one of two drillships Royal Dutch Shell used last year in Arctic waters off Alaska, officials said on Monday. [Reuters]

Jack Lew, the White House nominee for Treasury secretary, says President Obama’s second-term vow to confront climate change will not lead to proposals to tax carbon dioxide emissions. [The Hill]

The push for a solution to the problem of nuclear waste is growing in Congress, primarily through the creation of an interim storage site as long as Yucca Mountain is unavailable. [National Journal]

Shareholders are filing resolutions asking companies to disclose physical risks posed by climate change for the first time this proxy season, according to representatives of sustainable investor groups. [Bloomberg]

Opening arguments in the civil trial of BP began in New Orleans on Monday, with lawyers arguing the oil giant emphasized cost-cutting over safety in the run up to the Deepwater Horizon spill. [LATimes]

Global warming may cause extreme weather events by slowing vast, wave-like weather flows in the northern hemisphere, scientists said on Tuesday. [Reuters]

The Price of European coal for next year fell to the lowest in a month, as Germany’s environment minister said that its increased use of the fuel shouldn’t become a trend. [Bloomberg]

19 Responses to February 26 News: AEP Will Close More Coal-Fired Power Plants

  1. Mike Roddy says:

    Lew’s statement that Obama has no interest in a carbon tax ensures that coal plants will stay in operation for decades, and that fracked gas will replace those that are retired.

    This is another way of saying that the President is kicking the can down the road. He fears the oil companies and the banks that support them, and believes that our children’s fate is not his problem. Hoping otherwise is the same counterfeit hope and “change” that he aroused us with in 2008.

    We now know that only serious outside pressure will change Washington. Apart from a few like Markey, Waxman, and Whitehouse, we are ruled by incompetents.

  2. drt says:

    The Mathematics of Climate Change

    Amongst other things, the article has an explanation of how C02 and other gases trap heat:

    “The asymmetric-bond molecules just happen to have a vibrational frequency that matches the frequency of the energy radiating from the Earth. When this radiating energy strikes an asymmetric-bond molecule, the energy is absorbed, increasing the energy of this bond. When this molecule ultimately strikes the Earth, the stored energy is returned. The Earth is warmed by energy it originally radiated.”

  3. Sasparilla says:

    Well said Mike.

    As it has done previously (since the start of the year) – the Administration “courageously” takes the possibility of a carbon tax off the table. They’re so good at saying out one side of its mouth “we’re serious, we want to tackle climate change” and then saying “but we’re not really serious” out of the other side.

    Coal only has to last till natural gas prices get back up (after 3-5 years?) and then it’ll be the cheap choice & relatively safe again. As someone stated before – with regards to new EPA rules as the President talked of for existing coal plants, it takes 3 years or more to go from idea to implementation (not enough time for irreversible implementation if we get a Republican in the WH in 2016).

  4. Sasparilla says:

    Eugene Robinson’s spraying political cover for the approval of the XL is most dissapointing – which seems to be the “normal” view in political circles (since they obviously don’t appreciate how critical the situation is with the climate).

    As Dave Roberts said, at some point we have to stop making things worse and that means stopping the XL expansion and (not or) assigning coal plants to the ash can of history (of which I’ll be very surprised if our President actually implements something serious with Coal plants that takes hold before the last months of the administration and next election – after which it can be overturned and the plants brought back online).

  5. rollin says:

    At least the Washington Post got it right, it’s coal that is the most important to deal with.

  6. rollin says:

    It’s taken 40 years to finally get climate change on the government table. How many of you climate scientists out there think that taking the next 40 to actually change things is really too late?

  7. Sasparilla says:

    Is that a rhetorical question?

  8. David Goldstein says:

    CO2 number nerd update: Yes, I have taken to monitoring the weekly Mauna Loa CO2 update. I love number patterns and have noticed that in the past 6 months or so the CO2 has risen 2.5-3 year over year. As of Feb 17th it is 397.11 It peeks in May. Last May 6 it was 397.13 (highest ‘ever’). So…we have a real shot at a weekly global 400 reading this May. Geeze, we could be at 450 next decade. What was that about a carbon tax again, President Obama?

  9. Paul Magnus says:

    Managing the price on carbon has to be dynamic and limiting.

    As the supply and demand of fossil fuels wax and wane, we have to ensure that the base price always moves higher with dynamic pricing. See whats happening with cap n trade in Europe and the price of coal etc.

    The pricing mechanism has to be dynamic and limiting.

  10. Paul Magnus says:

    “shale plays are a peculiar sort of blessing. For sure, they’ve given us a staggering amount of new energy. Simultaneously, they’ve hijacked our energy future, chained us to a drilling rig, and thrown away the key.”

  11. Paul Magnus says:

    Adapt or mitigate, in what order… who said what?

    Exploring Climate Resilience and Energy Sense

  12. prokaryotes says:

    Pyrolysis plant protest reaches Court of Session for final fight

    Look at the photo

    Mr Howie talked of his plans for the pyrolysis plant, dismissing some of the concerns raised by protesters and claiming that the waste management plant is a “green energy solution”.

  13. prokaryotes says:

    Fake grassroots prevents biochar plant.

  14. prokaryotes says:

    FOX informs

    Cape Cod community considers taking down wind turbines after illness, noise

    link to fox = fxn DOT ws/YVnwf8

  15. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    That makes it official. Lew et al are the real Administration, and Obama is merely the plausibly believable front-man employed to sell their policies.

  16. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Invest in astro-turf-it’s a real growth industry.

  17. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The fake ‘wind turbines cause disease’ hysteria is pushed, relentlessly, by the Murdoch abomination here, too, led by his hideous flag-ship ‘ The Australian’, the epicentre of anti-environmental vigilantism in this country.